Yes, I was reading this book for years. Just happened that I dropped it, and haven’t picked it up for forever. Kim Newman is definitely not for everyone, and maybe not for me, but I have still troopered through “Johnny Alucard” (Anno Dracula 4; ISBN 0857680862; 400p.; Goodreads), and I will absolutely read the fifth one, no matter what.
Imagine America during the 60s to 80s – full of vampires. Andy Warhol? Vampire. Mad Men? Probably vampires. Vampires, just like the warm, feel the need and want to get famous, become movie stars, rock stars. Much like actual movie stars, famous people, rock stars – wish to become vampires. Problems are: some vampires don’t even show up on film, leaving them with such duties on set as special effects (ripping off clothing, carrying “floating” things around); while talented folk who are becoming vampires – often lose their talents. But this problem, unlike having no image on film, can be solved by faking it. There’s a new drug in town, called Drac, that gives you all the vampire traits for an hour or six. And this is how some young man named Johnny Alucard has evened out the scales among these two tribes of humans vs vampires: both parties crave each others blood. For if Drac runs out, well, some states don’t even consider vampires legally alive to be killed for blood again. In the meantime, Dracula is on everyone’s lips. Stoker’s name as pseudonime is as common as Smith. Directors are trying to overthrow each other by making better Dracula movie. Adult film industry is blooming with Dracula Rising and Dracula Sucking. Capes, castles, and intense need to tell the folk you are an indirect Dracula’s get is a must in Hollywood if you want to be a somebody.
Johnny Alucard, back then known as Ion, is the last of Dracula’s get. During war in Romania his own people, his own commando, threw him at Dracula’s feet as a tribute, as a snack, as an exchange for their own necks. Ion felt no regret over it for, in truth, the boy barely felt anything at all. This empty shell of a boy, with no fear or emotions in him, became the perfect vessel for Dracula and his final plan. For, after all, World can be taken in more than one way, and it doesn’t have to involve guns.
The book is very fine and interesting. It’s the author’s constant need to put names, backstories for the names, references, and so on, together with massive scene descriptions (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s too much is too much!) – made it a chore, no longer a pleasure. I couldn’t listen to this book in audio form, for my mind would start filtering the droning that was in no way relative to the story and the next thing you know – missed a bit. So I can’t give the book more than 3 out of 5, but be assured, I shall read the fifth one in the series.
I started reading John Patrick Kennedy book “Princess Dracula” (Princess Dracula 1; ASIN B01MSQGCS3; 203p.; Goodreads) last year, and barely managed to finish it last night. It’s a very plot-lacking book that smells of a man not knowing he can just write a woman like she’s a person, and not an alien.
Ruxandra Dracula, daughter to Walachian prince Vlad the Impaler, has been raised in a covenant for most of her life. One of these nights he comes to collect his daughter, and Ruxandra can only pray it is so he can marry her off to someone kind and handsome, like one of the knights that came with him. Instead Dracula takes her into a cave where a ritual for demon summoning is being prepared. He offers the demon his own daughter, confident he’ll be able to control the powers given, and use them against the Ottoman Empire. But demon only laughed, for it had spiteful plans of its own.
Ruxandra craves blood. At times her own body fights her, and all too often completely overpowers her, with this need to survive, while she herself is not exactly feeling like it. But she’s a Dracula, meaning she’s stubborn and determined. Determined to not hurt people, and find a way to die eventually. Until a beautiful young man finds her in the woods. Kind and caring he inspires hope in Ruxandra’s dead heart.
Too much work was put into explaining the logic of why the female protagonist has to be naked time and again. Too little work left, thus, on the plot, which was mediocre at best. For most of the book – nothing happens. And what does happen, like the brides of Dracula take (there’s an unevolved plot-line where those “brides” are actually Ruxandra’s friends, and they’re having this strange poly-amorous relationship, it could work, it would be an interesting take of Dracula’s Brides, seeing how Ruxandra is Dracula), gets left mentioned by a word or two across whole book. So I start a year with a book I can only give 2 out of 5 to. But that doesn’t mean I won’t read further.
I love the way Jeaniene Frost weaves a web for the reader, one I can never get out of, for it seems, what, just another page, just another chapter. I couldn’t put “Bound by Flames” (Night Prince 3; ISBN 0062076086; 342p.; Goodreads), the third book in a series of four. To add to the pretty great plot, the character development keeps getting better. Yes, yes, especially Prince Dracula.
This is a far darker, and far greater book than the previous two. The pace is perfect, with one episode following the other one closely, with only this much room to sit and talk it out. Szilagyi continues to harass Vlad and his household, pushing wedges where he can’t pull allies. A turncoat thus soon appears in prince’s flock. And in disguise of napalm bombing of his home, they steal his wife away, where she successfully get’s tortured physically, and mentally. Szilagyi is confident that he found a way to break the prince once and for all, thus he speaks, and we find out why he’s such a disgusting rat’s ass. But little does this bastard know, that he’s dealing with people who do not believe in limitations, and who dearly trust in one another.
Vlad spares nothing in search for Leila, trusting she’ll do all it takes to survive until he does find her. This is officially a war between the two vampires, and maybe that’s just for the best. Vlad pulls favors, finds people, and lets us in on his past, all the while keeping a sharp, if a bit rude eye on Leila’s family, still caring for their safety. There is no doubt in his heart that he’ll find the bastard, and at last squish him. But of course, surprises await, bad and good for both sides. Curses, bindings, and unexpected family members from the old Dracul line of Basarabs.
So, yes. This was amazing. I loved it to bits. Which, sadly, means I’ll keep the final one unread for as long as I can. This one pulled me out out of a very dark place. 5 out of 5, well deserved.
Yes, it seems I’m pretty good with October spooky reads, but it’s an accident, mostly. “Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula” by Stephen Seitz (ISBN 1780921705; 204p.; Goodreads), as you might guess from that one word in the title, is not an accident tho. Sadly, it wasn’t really any good, so I can’t give myself any credit for this choice…
When Jonathan Harker disappears in Romania, with only a couple of cryptic letters to account for his final days, miss Mina Murray comes to Sherlock Holmes for help. Believing the worst, Sherlock and John Watson leave for Transylvania, in search of this suspicious count Dracula, and likely – Harker’s body. What they find instead is far more disturbing. A village bound in terror and superstitions, children disappearing, and no other than three vampire brides of Dracula roaming the castle. Is it all smoke, mirrors, and drugs, or can this possibly be real?
Soon after their return to England, mostly empty-handed, friends find out that the mysterious count and his crates of dirt are here too. Not only is count working with the criminal mastermind, he seems to be well able to put others under his vampiric spell too. As we know from Bram Stoker’s account, Dracula took the life of miss Lucy. What we didn’t know is that he was preying on Watson’s wife Mary also!
This book has a lot of nothing. Dracula appears, threatens, and disappears after Sherlock swears to get off his back. Watson spends his time at work, mourning his friends, and pondering vampirism, with nothing happening around. Plague of vampires, terror of Dracula? Nope, none of that. 2 out 5, I can’t give it more.
I really waited for the “Hunting Prince Dracula” by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper 2; ISBN 031655166X; 434p.; Goodreads), for obvious reasons. And while the book was pretty good, and really good as murder detectives in this time period go (the time of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, all loose on England), I’m still a little disappointed. For all the wrong reasons too. For as I said, the book is great. But I missed for Dracula around. It was obvious from the first book that there won’t be no threading the supernatural paths, so what the heck did I expect?
Audrey Rose comes to Romania to study forensic medicine in one of the old Dracula castles. Yet from the moment she sets foot on Romanian soil – strange things start to happen. From bones, to wolves, to strange people, to stranger deaths. There’s one dead, seemingly killed by a vampire. There’s another one, apparently killed by a vampire hunter. It didn’t take much digging for Audrey to find out that these dead people are of same bloodline Dracula was from (Basarabs, Danestis, Draculestis). So not only someone is purging the Dracula line, they’re trying to put a superstition, myth into the kettle too! But what the hell for? Is someone trying to reclaim Dracula’s throne?
The castle hides more than just corpses for students to practice on. There’s plenty of locked doors, pitch black corridors, dangerous creatures lurking in the dark, and traps, due to which Audrey had few too many near-death experiences. Yet the answers are far more important than her fear, for her most beloved friend is a Dracula descendant too. She can’t allow innocents to get murdered like that, and she absolutely can’t allow her friend endangered like this either.
I like how Audrey is written. She’s smart, kind, funny, and yet flawed as a human being would be, making her someone I’d gladly be friends with. The story is good too, even if the bad guys turn out to be deluded idiots, for the lack of better wording. But I’ll take one point for my own personal reason of: that’s not the Dracula I wanted. Trust me when I say, these books are very fine October reads: 4 out of 5 from me.
You didn’t think I’ll quit Night Prince series by Jeanine Frost just because it was a silly-ish romance, did you? That never happened, and there where’s Dracula – never will. So let’s get into the “Twice Tempted” (Night Prince 2; ISBN 0062076108; 360p.; Goodreads), the second book on Leila the lightening woman, and Vlad Basarab Dracula, the fire-starting vampire.
As much as Leila loves Vlad and his people, the treatment he’s offering is rubbing her the wrong way. He disappears without a word on why, where, when. He acts a bit cold. Makes her adjust to his vampiric life, making little effort to adjust to hers. And the final straw – he offers her vampirism in a party he threw, before all his subjects, when both she, and her sister thought really, he’s going to propose. In a state of anger Leila rage-quits everything, sparing no words or actions. She packs up, breaks it off, and leaves. And if she thought her broken heart was bad enough, wait ’till she finds out Vlad’s ex is back on the radar.
Not too late after this whole nasty drama, an explosion meant to kill Leila nearly succeeds, in her stead killing innocents, her friends. Who’d want her dead, and who’d take such indirect, gruesome measures to kill her? Well, honestly the list isn’t all that short, and she can put Prince of the Darkness on it too. Lucky for her, Vlad’s right arm man is ready to help her, and defend her if need be, even from Vlad himself…
This one, to be honest, was pretty good. While the petty things author tried to make you believe are not very believable, the other stuff, like that small little plot twist, gets the job done. Apparently there’s more than just vampires, heck, there’s whole witchcraft and wizardry thing going on. I can give this book a well deserved 4 out of 5.
Sometimes I just type “Dracula” into the bookstore search engine, and see what comes up. This time it was “Silver in the Blood” by Jessica Day George (ISBN 1619634317; 358p.; Goodreads), and it might be the weirdest bloodline story I’ve read so far. That’s telling, seeing how I’ve read a story of Dracula with fae blood…
Dacia and Lou are well born society girls from New York. For their seventeenth birthday, the girls get to go on a trip to Romania, and visit the more mysterious side of the family, and preferably – find themselves suitable husbands. Soon into the trip – odd things start to happen. Wolves interfere with the train ride. Mysterious figures appear in their paths. They keep hearing these strange epithets aimed at them: The Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke. And even their companions start acting strange.
By far that is not all in this strange land of Romania, once home to Vlad Dracula himself. Their heritage is here, and one of them is to be married off to a prince, even if one only by formality. But whether they’ll want this cursed thing is still in question…
This was a pretty damn boring book. It’s rarely this dull when it comes to Dracula, but then, he himself wasn’t present anyway. I can only give this book 3 out of 5, due to too same sense as Caraval, but with actual shifters.
Geez, I’m a sucker for Dracula, and so I read anything with him in it, even the questionable romance books. Like “Once Burned” by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince 1; ISBN 006178320X; 346p.; Goodreads). It wasn’t bad, but it’s one of those romances. Like stand-alone’s by Nora Roberts or Jude Deveraux. Vampires were pretty cool thou, and Dracula wasn’t a complete disaster. Heck, it feels like author actually did some research before writing, which I respect.
After an accident in her childhood Leila carries a physical scar on her body, and one in her psyche too. She pumps actual electricity out of her arms, and if she wishes to touch someone – she has to first let the charge out into some lightening rod or something. And even then she’s doubtful, because touching a person means seeing their greatest sin. And sometimes their future, which soon gets her into trouble. For after warning a woman of hey boyfriend’s plans to murder her, she’s soon kidnapped by a vampire gang. They want her to find another of their kind. Yes, no other but the prince of the darkness himself, Vlad Draculea.
The problem arises when Leila actually finds him mentally, and sees him. For he opens his eyes, and looks right at her… Leila needs to decide, and decide fast with whom she has better chances at survival.
It’s not a good book, but by far not a bad one either. I will read the other ones, gladly even. They’re simple, vampires are quite alright, and as I said before – Dracula had some research done on him. Author knew important details, and used them to her advantage well. I can give it 3 out of 5, but that’s not a bad rating.